This business management game from Pinokl Games, the developers behind Party Hard and Party Hard 2, and Kverta Limited, provides a basic and currently very clunky tycoon game. Party Hard Tycoon is making its way through early access and still feels relatively unpolished. Some perseverance is required to obtain enjoyment but sometimes can be sunk into this game without too much trouble.
In Party Hard Tycoon you are a party manager. You throw parties while trying to please as many guests as possible, make money to throw more parties and gain a good reputation at the venues you use. Each of these objectives is not easy to achieve in the beginning, which isn’t a bad thing in itself, but the way the game handles some aspects of the progression is poorly implemented and frustrating. Once you have started to overcome these obstacles the game then starts to feel a bit too easy and too repetitive.
You are given a decent lump of money to get you started, but making money after that initial spend is a slow grind if you get it wrong and getting it right requires a time investment to figure out. Each party venue has different costs, guest capacities and power limits. One of the beginning venues is free to host a party at, but its power capacity and the space it has for guests is limited, which prevents you from holding certain parties there successfully. As well as different venues you have different party themes. Each theme has different requirements to ensure it is successful. These requirements are indicated by the ‘hype’ that people have around certain themes and the type of party it is. Hype defines what people are expecting to find at a party. One of the first party themes you use is the Drum ‘n Bass theme, which has a low level of hype and can be easily hosted in the small, cheap venue, however, if you want to host a Vodka party or a Biker Party, these have higher levels of hype and the free venues electricity limits don’t allow you to have enough lights and speakers to meet the hype levels. The party theme also dictates what sort of décor is best to have at your party as well as the food and drink expected.
As well as the hype mechanic, you can also employ personnel for each event to help you remove troublesome party goers, serve food and drink and to help you get ‘likes’, which are what you need to collect in order to level up and unlock things. The personnel system allows you to remain engaged while a party is occurring since you are required to activate personnel at the optimal times. As well as controlling your staff you must also activate lights and monitor when they are on cooldown. Lights do not stay on for the duration of a party and you must turn them back on after their cooldown has ended. Once you have used a venue you can re-use it and the equipment you purchased for it, but there appears to be no way to move your equipment to different venues at the present time but it’s not particularly required since you have plenty of money and equipment once you overcome your initial teething problems.
The game will require several restarts before things start to click. For example, in my personal experience, it took me several restarts to actually realise that using the free venue at the start was a bad idea. Investing initially in a larger venue with a bigger power capacity resulted in my game start going much more smoothly. There is a tutorial in the form of a woman who gives you advice and gets you to host specific parties, but she’s a bit too irritating to put up with past a certain point and you can manage just as well without her. The food serving mechanics during the parties are currently the most frustrating aspect of the game. You are given one waiter by default but there appears to be no way to have more. Hosting larger parties becomes tricky on the food front because the one waiter often can’t fill up the tables fast enough to keep everyone happy, so you usually have to accept that some people will be disappointed.
Visually, Party Hard Tycoon is lovely. It adopts the same art style as it’s parent game which works very well. The bright pixel art sits right at home in the theme of the game and sits perfectly alongside the soundtrack.
The music is excellent and really aids the player with getting the vibe of organising events. Different party themes have different music and each track is ideal for the length of times that parties run for, ensuring the music never feels repetitive.
Once you’ve fought past the initial learning curve, Party Hard Tycoon is a fairly easy game. This sudden drop off in difficulty needs fixing in order for the game to maintain interest, but in its current state, five or six hours can easily be sunk into it. For the price tag, the current state of the game will be worth it for some, but the game is likely best left until it’s progressed a little more through Early Access.